Community station New Style Radio 98.7 FM has been found in breach of its licence after discussing the elections whilst polling stations were open.
The station, which targets AfroCaribbean listeners living in Winson Green and the surrounding areas of Birmingham, had one complaint made against it which Ofcom thought warranted investigation.
During the programme Different Anglez on 7th May, the station discussed:
- the likely outcomes in local elections taking place that same day in some seats on Birmingham City Council and the 10 Parliamentary seats being contested in Birmingham;
- the electoral prospects of Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative Party incumbent in the Parliamentary seat of Sutton Coldfield;
- whether the Conservative Party and Labour Party were contesting the General Election on ideological grounds;
- local issues discussed at Parliamentary hustings; and
- the views of a listener on the General Election.
The station admitted that the material breached the Code but said that “there was at no point any deliberate attempt to flout the electoral codes”.
The Licensee told Ofcom that the presenter of Different Anglez “believed that as none of the guests were from a political party there would be no party political comments” and “hence the programme would be objective”. The Licensee accepted that “this was a complete misunderstanding of the strict rules dealing with election matters on election day”.
Ofcom noted the Licensee’s good compliance history and that it had introduced additional training as a result of this broadcast. However, the regulator still considered this was a clear breach of Rule 6.4.